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Stress-busting tips for your driving test

When it comes to the most nerve-wracking exams, driving tests are definitely up there. You might be really confident on the road, but when the big day arrives, you may be more nervous than you thought you'd be.

It's completely normal to feel a little apprehensive. But if your nerves turn to stress, that's when you're more likely to make silly slip-ups on the road. So, we're going to share some of our top tips for keeping your cool during your driving test. But first, let's take a look at the top three reasons why people fail.

1. Observation at junctions

Lack of observation at junctions tops the list of test failures. So, what does 'good observation' look like? Well, it involves things such as:

  • Reading and reacting to signs nice and early (so there's no harsh braking or sudden stops)
  • Looking in both directions when arriving at a junction
  • Making sure its 100% safe to pull out into the path of other cars (i.e. when there's a large enough gap between the other car).

2. Using mirrors to change direction

Mirror, signal, manoeuvre… you know the drill. But still, many learners fail because the examiner feels they haven't quite mastered this routine. You'll get a major fault if you don't consult your mirrors before turning left or right, changing lanes or when overtaking.

3. Steering control

The examiner needs to feel comfortable with you behind the wheel, and confident you're in control. A big no-no, for example, would be hitting the curb when going into a sharp corner, because you've steered too late or early.

Top ways to combat stress

Here are a few, final pointers for keeping stress levels to a minimum on the day.

  • Shhhhh! By telling all your friends and family when your driving test is, you're putting more pressure on yourself to pass, so keep the test date to yourself
  • Eating breakfast is really important as food fuels our bodies and minds and will help you concentrate. Opt for something healthy, like granola with banana and yoghurt
  • Caffeine is a stimulant that can make us feel agitated and nervous, so stick to water or natural fruit juice on the day
  • Arrive at the test centre with plenty of time to spare. Rather than twiddling your thumbs in the waiting room, read a book or listen to your iPod (preferably your most motivational playlist).

The pass rate for 2016/17 was just under half (47.1%), so our final tip would be not to beat yourself up if things don't work out this time round. You can always re-sit the test, and when you do, you'll have even more driving experience behind you.

That said, if you're confident in your own driving ability, and follow these tips to manage stress, you stand a great chance of becoming a fully-qualified driver. Good luck!


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